Read Galatians 3:1-4
1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? (NLT)
Most of us want to go through life without hurting others’ feelings. We want to be known as sensitive, as kind. However, people being as they are and life being like it is, we can’t always do that.
Even Paul, who loved his people dearly, had to occasionally get stuck into them. His readers in Galatia had apparently compromised their Christian faith by reverting back to old Jewish ways. Grace was being pushed into the background by some false teaching that emphasised keeping the old laws. It is out of love that Paul criticises them. He is hurting their feelings in order to save them from a dangerous way of living and thinking.
We may have to occasionally do the same. The person we love who looks like shipwrecking their life. The person who anxiously clings to us and wants more of us than we can rightly or possibly give. The person who bullies or intimidates or rides roughshod over ourselves or others. We may have to hurt their feelings in order to pursue a greater good.
Our overriding aim in life is not to avoid hurting others’ feelings, though we try to avoid this as far as we can. Our main task in life is not to be ‘nice’ but to be godly. Mostly these belong together, but when they clash, choose godliness.
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